Experts: Workplace violence catches media unaware

Jeffrey Johnson dressed in his one suit, left his apartment and waited outside his former workplace the morning of Aug. 23, 2012.

When Steven Ercolino approached with another Harzen Import employee, Johnson pulled out a gun and killed Ercolino. Johnson, 58, then was killed and nine bystanders wounded in the resulting police gunfire response. Ercolino and Johnson had worked together at Harzen. The former co-workers did not get along, according to police.

The story ran in media across the country and around the world, not so much for what it was – a fatal workplace violence incident – but because of where it was. The August fatalities took place in front of the Empire State Building.

That famous New York landmark warranted the media’s attention in a way other workplace fatalities in 2012 and previous years usually do not. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries shows that on average two people a day die from workplace violence incidents – or about 17 percent of all fatal injuries in the workplace – such deaths rarely are mentioned beyond local media.


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